Author: iwano@_84

 

He got a coronavirus vaccine in China, but had to keep it secret. Why?

The oil company worker wondered why he had to keep his vaccination a secret. Questions raced through his head as he read the confidentiality agreement, which threatened he would be disciplined if he told anyone outside company management about the COVID-19 shot he was waiting to get.



a man wearing a hat: An employee inspects syringes of the coronavirus vaccine produced by Sinovac at its factory in Beijing. (Ng Han Guan / Associated Press)


© (Ng Han Guan / Associated Press)
An employee inspects syringes of the coronavirus vaccine produced by Sinovac at its factory in Beijing. (Ng Han Guan / Associated Press)

What if something went wrong? Who would take responsibility? The worker knew the vaccine maker, China National Biotec Group — part of the state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm — was conducting trials of this vaccine on hundreds of thousands of volunteers in the United Arab Emirates, Peru, Morocco and other countries.

“At least they’re in a monitored, controlled situation,” he said of those trials, watching as hundreds of his co-workers lined up around him to get their injection at a clinic in Beijing. “But for us, they can’t make any guarantees. This is us making a sacrifice for the nation.”

The employee — who did not give his name for fear of reprisal — is one of hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens who have received COVID-19 vaccines before they have been proved safe in clinical trials. China’s military began getting vaccinations in June. Medical workers and employees of state-owned companies working abroad were soon included in an “emergency use” program. In September, a China National Biotec executive said 350,000 people outside clinical trials had already received the vaccine.

Early vaccinations of high-profile people have become a way to show trust in China’s medical system after a 2018 scandal in which children were exposed to faulty vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus.

In March, images of Chen Wei, a military general and epidemiologist leading one of the coronavirus vaccine efforts, were widely shared by social media users, praising her for receiving an injection before it had been tested on animals. Yin Weidong, chief executive of biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, told reporters last month that he was one of the first to take the vaccine after it passed the first two trial phases. About 90% of Sinovac’s employees have voluntarily taken the vaccine early, the company said.

This month, China National Biotec Group reportedly began offering free vaccines to Chinese students planning to go abroad, according to a company website that was later taken down. More than 93,000 people had signed up for the free vaccine, the website said. Students who had been vaccinated also spoke to local and foreign media about their experiences. But state media later reported that the free vaccine offer was “not real.”

Several cities in Zhejiang province have also reportedly begun offering vaccines made by Sinovac. In Yiwu city, Chinese media found a clinic offering vaccination shots for about $30 each on a “first come, first served” basis. Most of those receiving shots were people planning international travel, though they did not have to prove it, according to local reports.



A technician works in a lab at Sinovac Biotech in Beijing on Sept. 24, 2020. The lab is working on a potential coronavirus vaccine. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)


© (Kevin

Dubai Fitness Challenge: Nike launches free 30-day calendar of movement

Nike
The campaign features Zainab Al Eqabi an amputee and everyday athlete, as well as other successful Arab female athletes
Image Credit: supplied

Dubai: Nike launched the Middle East’s installment of “You Can’t Stop Us”, a campaign aimed at encouraging women across the Middle East to discover the world of movement in water, the film is a rallying cry for women across the region to go out and play.

The “You Can’t Stop Us” month-long campaign, features four remarkable women who have forged their very own success stories in the world of sport, starring Zainab Al Eqabi, amputee and everyday athlete, Sarra Lajnef, Olympic Swimmer, Nike Swim Coach, Rower and Triathlete, Maha Al Ameri, UAE National Rower and Manal Rostom, Founder of Surviving Hijab & Nike running coach and triathlete.

Despite concerns, criticism and limitations, these women have remained unstoppable and hope to inspire women in the region who want to pursue sport with their relentless spirit.

‘You Can’t Stop Us’ is meant to inspire and motivate athletes across the region to participate in Nike’s 30-day calendar of movement. This year’s calendar coincides with the fourth edition of the Dubai Fitness Challenge

The Nike 30-day calendar includes:

1. Virtual Coaching Hub: A WhatsApp coaching hub that provides members with expert tips and ongoing guidance on nutrition, mindset, recovery and movement from Nike Master Trainers to help athletes pursue a healthy lifestyle.

2. Livestreamed session led by Nike Master Trainers, tackling HIIT, yoga, dance and mediation. The free live-streamed community workouts run twice daily and are suitable for small spaces and all levels of fitness.

3. In partnership with Hamdan Sports Complex, Nike will host a swimming clinic for women. Including introductory and intermediate sessions held daily at limited capacity. The clinic is coached and led by Olympic swimmer and triathlete Sarra Lanjef.

4. Nike Training App: A free access to digital library of over 200 workouts available at the Nike Training apps.

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Yale Medicine Board elects new female chair, four new members

Jessie Cheung, Contributing Photographer

The Yale Medicine Board has elected a new female chair and has nominated and ratified four other female faculty members.

Nita Ahuja, the current chair of the surgery department at the Yale School of Medicine and an assistant director at the Yale Cancer Center, was elected as the new chair of the board in October. The four other women appointed to the board were Michele Johnson, Marie Robert, Marietta Vazquez and Merceditas Villanueva. The appointment of these five new members increased the gender and racial equity of the 27-member board.

“A board governing practice should have racial and gender composition matching the members of the clinical practice they represent,” Margaret Bia — professor emerita of medicine and a member of the Committee on the Status of Women in Medicine, or SWIM — wrote in an email News. SWIM aims to address issues related to gender equality at the Yale School of Medicine.

According to Bia, the Yale Medicine Board, which represents Yale Medicine, has had a problem with diversity in the past. She mentioned that Paula Kavathas — professor of laboratory medicine, immunobiology and molecular, cellular and developmental biology — noticed this issue a few years ago while she was serving on the board and resolved to fix it.

As stated by Kavathas, the board is composed of 18 clinical chiefs, which were almost exclusively men, and nine ad hoc chairs. When she was a member of the board, only three of the clinical chiefs and one of the ad hoc chairs were female.

“At the time, the Yale Medicine group was about 40 percent female,” Kavathas said. “But when I looked at the [board] structure, they were more than 90 percent male.”

In an effort to change the board’s composition, Kavathas emailed all the women faculty in the clinical departments to ask them if they would like to serve on the board as an ad hoc member. She then recommended the candidates to Paul Taheri, the chief executive officer of Yale Medicine, and Roberta Hines, the head of the nominating committee for the board. The following year, nearly 40 percent of the board was female.

According to Gary Desir, previous chair of the Yale Medicine Board, this year, the board has taken new initiative to increase its diversity by focusing on additional outreach.

“The idea was to reach out more broadly than before and include SWIM, which is the Committee on the Status of Women in Medicine, and MORE, which is the Minority Organization for Retention and Expansion,” Desir said.

As per the initiative, the Yale Medicine Board reached out to the head of SWIM, Nina Stachenfeld, and asked her to suggest two candidates to be considered for the board, according to Bia. This led to the changes and additions to board leadership — the four new faculty members and new board chair. 

Ahuja, the board’s new chair, has served as the first female chair of surgery at Yale since February 2018, as well as

Asia Pacific Laser Therapy Market Forecast to 2027

The Asia Pacific laser therapy market is expected to reach US$ 768. 52 million by 2027 from US$ 348. 67 million in 2019; it is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 10. 5% from 2020 to 2027. The laser therapy market in Asia Pacific grows substantially due to growing medical applications of laser therapy and technological developments in laser therapies.

New York, Oct. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report “Asia Pacific Laser Therapy Market Forecast to 2027 – COVID-19 Impact and Regional Analysis By Type ; Application ; End User, and Geography” – https://www.reportlinker.com/p05978827/?utm_source=GNW
However, the high prices of laser therapy and devices hinder the growth of the market.

Laser therapy, a non-invasive medical procedure, uses the light of a specific wavelength to treat various diseases.This procedure is used to remove tumors or abnormal cell growth, perform hair and skin treatments, remove kidney stones, and repair a detached retina.

In medicine, the laser allows surgeons to work at a high level of precision by focusing on a definite area, and this process creates lesser damage than the traditional methods of surgery. The process of laser therapy is however costly and may require repetitive visits to the surgeon.

Various medical device manufacturers and start-ups introduce the latest technologies in the market and the availability of various advanced products allows medical professionals to improve patients’ health by enhancing their treatment efficiency. For instance, in February 2020, IRIDEX Corporation, a manufacturer of ophthalmic laser-based medical products, launched an upgraded second-generation version of MicroPulse P3 device to treat glaucoma, and the upgrades made to the device are expected to substantially reduce intraocular pressure suitable for glaucoma patients without incisions.

Furthermore, in June 2020, Cynosure launched Elite iQ Aesthetic Workstation for laser hair removal and skin revitalization in Australia, allowing faster treatment with higher max energy compared with previous generation devices.Moreover, in February 2019, GakSung introduced the Laser Queen, a low-level laser and LED therapy known as photon light therapy, in India to treat a variety of conditions.

Thus, the consistent technological developments through the launch of new products in the market augment the growth of the laser therapy market in Asia Pacific.

China, Japan, India, Australia, and South Korea are the most affected countries due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and the associated deaths.Manufacturers and suppliers of medical devices are shifting their focus from regular laser therapy devices to the development and supply of COVID-19 essentials and medical devices used for respiratory issues.

This scenario adversely impacts the dermatology & cosmetic and minimally invasive therapies performed with laser devices.

Based on type, in 2019, the diode segment held the largest share of the market and is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period.This segment witnesses a lucrative growth owing to its rapid adoption in photodynamic treatments and aesthetic procedures.

Additionally, the diode laser is used for processes such as incision, hemostasis, and coagulation. Moreover, the implementation of diode laser causes minimal

Short of medics as virus surges, central Europe sounds alarm

KYJOV, Czech Republic (AP) — Soldiers in Poland are giving coronavirus tests. American National Guard troops with medical training are headed to the Czech Republic to work alongside doctors there. A Czech university student is running blood samples to labs, and the mayor of the capital is taking shifts at a hospital.

With cases surging in many central European countries, firefighters, students and retired doctors are being asked to help shore up buckling health care systems.

“This is actually terrifying,” Dr. Piotr Suwalski, the head of the cardiac surgery ward at a Polish hospital said on a day when daily COVID-19 cases rose 20% nationwide. “I think if we continue to gain 20% a day, no system can withstand it.”


Even before the pandemic, many countries in the region faced a tragic shortage of medical personnel due to years of underfunding in their public health sectors and an exodus of doctors and nurses to better paying jobs in Western Europe after the nations joined the European Union in 2004. Now, with the virus ripping through their hospitals, many health workers have been sickened, compounding the shortfall.

Over 13,200 medical personnel across the Czech Republic have been infected, including 6,000 nurses and 2,600 doctors, according to the doctors’ union.

It’s not just clinicians these countries need. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are building field hospitals as beds fill up on wards, and authorities say there are only 12 ventilators left in all hospitals taking COVID-19 patients in the region around Warsaw, the Polish capital.

This may sound familiar, but not for these countries. Many in the region imposed tough restrictions in the spring — including sealing borders and closing schools, stores and restaurants — and saw very low infection rates even as the virus killed tens of thousands in Western Europe.

But now many central European countries are seeing an onslaught similar to the one their western neighbors experienced — and the same dire warnings.

As he announced new restrictions last week, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis put a date on when his country’s health system would collapse, if the new regulations were not imposed to slow the virus’s spread: between Nov. 7 and 11.

With one of the highest infection rates in Europe, the Czech Republic’s hospitals are desperately looking for volunteers. The government is deploying thousands of medical students to hospitals and other students to testing sites.

In the capital of Prague, Mayor Zdenek Hrib, who has a degree in medicine, volunteered to help do initial exams of possible coronavirus patients at a university hospital. Soon, 28 medical personnel from the Nebraska and Texas national guards are expected to arrive to help treat patients at Prague’s military hospital and a new field hospital at the city’s exhibition ground.

Croatia has asked former doctors to come out of retirement to help in hospitals, while Slovenia has put retired physicians and current medical students on standby in case its situation deteriorates.

Poland, meanwhile, is mobilizing soldiers to conduct COVID-19 testing,

Fact-checking Trump’s closing arguments on covid-19

In the final days of the campaign, President Trump continues to flood the zone with false and misleading claims about the coronavirus pandemic.



a man standing in front of a crowd: (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)


(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Cases have been spiking across the country, while Trump insists “we’re rounding the turn.” The president continues to assert that U.S. infections are rising “because we do more testing than anybody else,” when experts say the main reason is the spreading disease.

In recent interviews, Trump has responded with denials and attacks when journalists Savannah Guthrie of NBC and Lesley Stahl of CBS fact-checked his claims on camera. The president tells crowds that media coverage of the pandemic is meant to damage him politically and “should be an election law violation.”

Here’s a roundup of several coronavirus claims Trump has been repeating in the closing days of the race.

‘Rounding the turn’

“We have made tremendous progress with the China Virus, but the Fake News refuses to talk about it this close to the Election. COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by them, in total coordination, in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!”

Trump tweet, Oct. 26

“We’re rounding the turn. Even without the vaccines, we’re rounding the turn, it’s going to be over.”

— Trump, at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 25

As of Oct. 28 at 7:50 p.m., the United States has more than 8.8 million reported coronavirus cases and at least 227,000 deaths, according to The Washington Post covid-19 tracker.

The rate of new cases per week began to climb in mid-September and is currently climbing, showing the United States experiencing a third wave of the disease after two earlier surges in 2020. More than 70,000 new cases are reported every day at current levels.

When comparing the 20 countries most affected by the coronavirus, the United States is fifth in deaths per 100,000 people. Only Belgium, Spain, Brazil and Mexico have higher fatality rates, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Swing states

“At some point, we’re turning that corner, and it’s been pretty amazing. Florida had a rough time. Boom. … It’s all the way down. Texas, all the way down. Arizona, great governors, all the way down.”

— Trump, at a campaign rally in Omaha, Oct. 27

“All he [former vice president Joe Biden] does is talk about shutdowns. But forget about him. His Democrat governors: Cuomo in New York, you look at what’s going on in California, you look at Pennsylvania, North Carolina. Democrats — Democrats all. They’re shut down so tight, and they’re dying.”

— Trump, at the presidential debate in Nashville, Oct. 22

“In Pennsylvania, you can’t go to church … can’t go to restaurants.”

— Trump, at a campaign rally in Martinsburg, Pa., Oct. 26

Arizona, Florida and Texas are battleground states governed by Republicans. North Carolina and Pennsylvania, run by Democrats, are also possible swing states in this year’s presidential race.

Trump says the “red” states are

Nicox Granted New Patent for NCX 470, Extending Exclusivity in Europe to 2039

Press Release

Nicox Granted New Patent for NCX 470, Extending Exclusivity in Europe to 2039

 

October 29, 2020 – release at 7:30 am
Sophia Antipolis, France

 

Nicox SA (Euronext Paris: FR0013018124, COX), an international ophthalmology company, today announced that the European Patent Office has granted a formulation patent for NCX 470, extending the European exclusivity to 2039.  The equivalent U.S. patent has already been granted, and NCX 470 is also covered by granted composition of matter patents.

 

Gavin Spencer, Chief Business Officer at Nicox, said: “We are pleased that our formulation patent for NCX 470 has been granted in Europe, following the U.S. grant earlier in the year.  This strengthens our competitive position and provides further protection of this potential best-in-class product candidate for the lowering of intraocular pressure as we continue Phase 3 development and move it towards commercialization.

 

NCX 470, Nicox’s lead clinical product candidate, is a novel second-generation nitric oxide (NO)-donating bimatoprost analog for the lowering of intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.  It is currently being evaluated in the Mont Blanc Phase 3 clinical trial which was initiated in the U.S. in June 2020 with top-line results currently expected in Q4 2021.  A second Phase 3 trial, Denali, is expected to start by the end of 2020, and will include clinical sites in both the U.S. and China, with the majority of the patients to be recruited in the U.S. 

 

NCX 470 is exclusively licensed to Ocumension Therapeutics for the Chinese, Korean and South East Asian markets.  The Denali trial is jointly funded by Nicox and Ocumension.

About NCX 470

NCX 470 is a novel, potential best-in-class, second generation nitric oxide (NO)-donating bimatoprost analog in development to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.  Glaucoma is a group of ocular diseases in which the optic nerve is injured, leading to peripheral and, ultimately, central visual field loss and it can eventually lead to blindness if not treated. It is frequently linked to abnormally high IOP (~90% of patients) due to blockage or malfunction of the eye’s aqueous humor drainage system in the front of the eye.  In 2019, worldwide sales of treatments targeting glaucoma were over $6.0 billion out of a $21.9 billion worldwide market for ophthalmic drugs. 

NCX 470 is designed to release both bimatoprost and NO following instillation into the eye.  Bimatoprost, marketed under the brand name LUMIGAN® by Allergan, Inc., is one of the leading products in the class of prostaglandin analogs, the most widely used class of drugs for IOP-lowering in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. 

About Nicox

Nicox S.A. is an international ophthalmology company developing innovative solutions to help maintain vision and improve ocular health.  Nicox’s lead program in clinical development is NCX 470, a novel, second-generation nitric oxide-donating bimatoprost analog, for lowering intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma.  The company is also developing NCX 4251, a proprietary formulation of fluticasone, for acute exacerbations of blepharitis. 

Pakistan orders early closure of businesses

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities have ordered all businesses, including restaurants, wedding halls and markets, be closed after 10 p.m. to contain a coronavirus resurgence that began this month.



A health official from the district office wearing protective gear, walks near a banner showing a precaution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)


© Provided by Associated Press
A health official from the district office wearing protective gear, walks near a banner showing a precaution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)



An Indian family wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus bargain for a ride with an autorickshaw driver in Bengaluru, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. India's trajectory is moving toward the worst-hit country, the United States, which has over 8.8 million cases. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)


© Provided by Associated Press
An Indian family wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus bargain for a ride with an autorickshaw driver in Bengaluru, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India’s confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. India’s trajectory is moving toward the worst-hit country, the United States, which has over 8.8 million cases. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Also, authorities in the capital, Islamabad, asked police to arrest anyone violating social distancing rules by not wearing masks at public places.

The government Thursday reported some of its highest single-day totals, more than 900 new cases and 16 deaths. The numbers are almost double those reported some days last month.

Pakistan has reported 311,108 confirmed coronavirus infections, including 6,775 deaths.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— US data Thursday expected to show blowout economic growth in summer, but it’s already fading

— Biden is focusing on COVID-19, while Trump would rather talk about just about anything else

— US health officials are issuing insurance coverage rules anticipating COVID-19 vaccines

— On the road in Mississippi, AP finds a story of love in the time of coronavirus

— Australia’s pandemic travel ban brings family heartbreak and questions about how long it can be justified

Video: Dr. Patel on how the White House should be dealing with the virus outbreak: ‘This should go well beyond what’s standard’ (MSNBC)

Dr. Patel on how the White House should be dealing with the virus outbreak: ‘This should go well beyond what’s standard’

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

— India’s cases surpass 8 million as concerns grow over Hindu festivals, winter and social distancing fatigue

— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BEIJING — Officials in the northwestern China region of Xinjiang say they believe they have contained the country’s latest coronavirus outbreak.

Xinjiang reported 23 new confirmed cases Thursday, all involving people who had initially tested positive but displayed no symptoms. It was the second consecutive day in which newly confirmed cases emerged entirely among such people.

Officials say that development appears to show new infections have been curbed in Kashgar prefecture, where the outbreak appeared Saturday. They say all the cases seem to be linked to a garment factory that employs 252 people and has since being sealed off.

More than 4.7 million people in Kashgar have been tested for the virus.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Officials in Anchorage,

The Asia Pacific liposome drug delivery market is expected to reach US$ 1,562.92 million in 2027 from US$ 759.81 in 2019

The market is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 9. 6% from 2020-2027. The growth of the market is attributed to the some key driving factors such as high incidence of chronic diseases amongst the population, an upsurge in need for non-invasive drug delivery solutions, increasing investments in R&D for pharmaceutical companies.

New York, Oct. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report “Asia Pacific Liposome Drug Delivery Market Forecast to 2027 – COVID-19 Impact and Regional Analysis By Product ; Technology ; Application, and Country” – https://www.reportlinker.com/p05978829/?utm_source=GNW
However, high expense involved in the development of drug delivery systems is expected to obstruct the growth of the market to a certain extent during the forecast years.

Liposomes are small sphere-shaped artificial vesicles synthesized from cholesterol and phospholipids. They have multiple layers and a diameter range of 0.01 to 5.0 um. They also have hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties which help liposomes to encapsulate hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs to be delivered to targeted body site. Liposomes provide an assured system for targeted drug delivery and thereby is the factor influencing the Liposome Drug Delivery market size growth. Liposomes are widely used for enclosing all types of drug molecules such as acyclovir, chloroquine diphosphate, paclitaxel, tropicamide, and cyclosporine. Liposomes are used as a drug carrier for drug therapy for many diseases since they are biodegradable and biocompatible. Also, they have many therapeutic properties like anticancer drugs, genetic materials, proteins, vaccines, macromolecules, and thus can be encapsulated in liposomes.

Research and development (R&D) in liposomal drug delivery systems are increasing across the world due to the increasing prevalence of chronic disease.Drug delivery is the process of dispensing a pharmaceutical compound to attain a therapeutic effect in humans.

Liposomal drug delivery offers multiple advantages such as better pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, enhanced therapeutic efficacy, and decreased toxicity making these delivery systems ideal for patients suffering from various chronic conditions.

Death among the population worldwide has increased due to cancer.The targeted drug delivery system delivers the drug in a controlled manner at a preselected bio site.

Nanotechnology-based delivery systems are making a crucial impact on cancer treatment, and the polymers play a key role in the development of Nano particulate carriers for cancer therapy.Some of the major technological advantages involved in the nanotherapeutic drug delivery systems (NDDS) are prolonged half-life, improved bio-distribution, increased circulation time of the drug, controlled and sustained release of the drug, versatility of route of administration, increased intercellular concentration of the drug, and many more.

The liposomal carriers used in nanotechnology drug delivery systems are likely to experience rapid adoption, which in turn is propelling the market growth.

As per the data provided by, European Society for Medical Oncology, China estimated there were 4.3 million new cancer cases and more than 2.8 million cancer deaths in China in 2015, with lung cancer the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death. With high incidences and mortality, cancer is the leading cause of death in China and

US Authorities Warn Of ‘Imminent’ Cyber Threat To Hospitals

US security authorities warned Wednesday of an “imminent cybercrime threat” to hospitals and healthcare providers, urging them to increase their protection.

An advisory released by the FBI and two other government agencies said they had “credible information” that hackers were targeting the healthcare sector using malware, “often leading to ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of healthcare services.”

The threat comes as US hospitals grapple with rising numbers of coronavirus cases, during a pandemic which has so far killed more than 226,000 people in the country.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software used by cybercriminals to encrypt users’ files until a ransom is paid.

Healthcare institutions have been frequent victims of ransomware for several years in the US and globally.

US federal agencies warned hackers were targeting the healthcare sector using malware that can lead to ransomware attacks US federal agencies warned hackers were targeting the healthcare sector using malware that can lead to ransomware attacks Photo: AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI

Last month, a suspected ransomware attack disrupted patient care at a large chain of hospitals and clinics operating in the United States and Britain.

In 2017, the UK’s national healthcare system was one of the victims in a wave of global ransomware attacks, prompting some of its hospitals to divert ambulances and scrap operations.

The federal agencies urged US healthcare providers to take “timely and reasonable precautions” to protect their networks.

They encouraged healthcare providers to patch their operating systems, software and firmware as soon as possible, and to conduct antivirus and anti-malware scans regularly.

The agencies also recommended changing passwords regularly and using multi-factor authentication.

Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.

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